As photographers, it’s important that we’re using contracts even if we’re just starting out in our business. You never know what types of situations you may encounter and you want to be ensured that your business is protected when the unexpected happens. But knowing what to include inside a wedding photography contract can be tricky. In this video, I’m sharing with you 10 things you MUST include in your wedding photography contract and where to find a good quality contract for your business. I personally buy all of my contracts from The Legal Paige and have for years! You can use my affiliate code HERE.
Disclaimer: This is not legal advice – just tips from a wedding photographer!
What To Include In Wedding Photography Contracts
1. The Important Details
At the top of the contract, it should state the name of your client(s) and the date of the event. Make sure all of the details are confirmed. You should then outline what the client is actually buying into. A lot of time, this is an itemized list of services and products included with their package. This is so important as it makes the contract specific to this client and it clearly states the details of what the contract entails.
2. Harassment Clause
Safety is extremely important. This clause covers sexual, violent, or any other type of harassment that may happen or occur that causes you to be uncomfortable or feel unsafe. This will clearly explain what is and what is NOT acceptable, as well as what images you will be liable for if you do have to remove yourself from a dangerous situation. It’s a very important clause to include in your contract for a number of reasons!
3. Inclement Weather / Acts of God
This is something that’s outside of your control, but absolutely needs to be acknowledged in your contract. The weather can greatly impact our ability to physically be in a location, so your contract needs to state what exactly will happen in those potential cases (storms, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.) and who is held liable. You always want to make sure this is included because you never know when one of these situations may arise.
4. Cancellation Policy
If for whatever reason the wedding does not happen or the client chooses to go in a different direction, the cancellation policy will outline what happens and how they go about cancelling. This should state whether or not they get their retainer back, whether or not they would be liable for the rest of the money’s paid if it hasn’t been paid, etc. Be very specific when detailing this policy in your contract. Having this in place will help if you or your client ever needs to cancel and gives you peace of mind that your business is protected.
5. Model Release, Copyright and Ownership, and Editing Clause
A model release, copyright, and ownership, and editing clause details who owns the image copyright, what can the client do with the images, what can you do with the images. As the business owner, can you use the images on social media or for any kind of marketing purposes? Can the client alter or edit the images, utilize social media filters on top of your images, etc? This clause will outline all of these things and more! You want to make sure these questions are answered and that your clients does indeed agree to this.
6. Fees and Payment Schedules
The fees and payment schedule clause will very clearly state when the amounts that to you as the photographer are due and what happens if the payments are late. How does the client pay you? What are your acceptable forms of payment? When are they due? These questions are all answered in this section of the contract. Again, be very detailed and specific on what payment schedule your clients are agreeing to and make it very clear how the fees are to be paid. Sometimes people will have clients acknowledge what they are agreeing to by having them initial that all the payment details are correct.
7. Summary of Deliverables (for both sides)
The summary of deliverables clause walks through exactly what the client is buying from you (how many hours, the album, digital downloads, etc.) as well as what you are getting from the client (payment, exchange of goods or time services, etc.). Outline clearly what each side is receiving from this transaction. Again, the more detail the better so you can have peace of mind on what is being agreed to. This is also helpful if you ever need to look back and see what the scope of your work is for your client.
8. Mediation Clause
A mediation clause outlines if either party involved in this contract feels that the contract isn’t being upheld or if there is any kind of discrepancy on anything, you agree to go to a mediator instead of court or just taking direct legal action right off the bat. This keeps it more affordable and helps avoid things being blown up out of proportion.
9. Meals Policy
Always, always , always have a meals policy included in your contract as a wedding photographer. Make sure you are answering: Are your clients providing meals for you on the wedding day? How many meals are your clients providing? If they do not feed you or forget, are you allowed to step away to eat when you choose? This is important to outline because it is important for you to eat the day of the event! It might sound silly to include but you don’t want to be in a situation where you need food and aren’t allowed to eat it at a wedding. Be proactive about your needs as the photographer so you can do your job best.
10. Other Photographers
Finally, you need to have something in your contract that clearly states that you’ll be the only professional commissioned photographer at the event. This will give you some rights for protecting that and to make sure that if someone is in the way of your shot, you can let them know they need to stop what they’re doing or move. This will allow you to do your job well without interference.
Lastly, it is ESSENTIAL to have a space at the bottom of your contract for signatures (both parties involved and yourself) as well as lines to initial next to each section or clause. Signatures make it official! Make sure that whichever software you choose allows you and your clients the ability to sign electronically.
For simple but effective (and legally protective) contract templates, check out The Legal Paige!
And if you’re interested in trying out Honeybook to simplify your contract signing process, be sure to take advantage of my referral code HERE.
If you decide to use any of the links above and buy through them, I’ll receive a small commission back. All of those affiliate income commissions really add up over time and help generate revenue to help support this channel